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Author Matthew McElligott Explores the Creative Process with Elementary Students

Even a simple, every-day occurrence, like enjoying a birthday cake with friends, can spark a creative idea and fuel imagination. A highly-engaged audience of young readers at Byron-Bergen Elementary School listened as author and illustrator Matthew McElligott explained how he conceived and created his story “The Lion’s Share – A Tale of Halving Cake and Eating It, Too.” “It was a way to combine two of my favorite things,” he says, “math and dessert.” The author shared many of his creative decisions with the students – on the mathematics behind the story, and on crafting the illustration style and the graphic design of the book.

McElligott, who writes for young readers of all ages, found a welcoming display in the school lobby featuring many of his most popular books, including “Blackbeard: Pirate for Hire,” “Bean Thirteen,” “Even Aliens Need Snacks,” and “Benjamin Franklinstein Lives!” The display was created by students and Byron-Bergen Library Media Specialist Joyce Cullum. Cullum also arranged for a book signing where book owners had the opportunity to meet and speak with the author. McElligott charmed his fans, many of whom brought multiple copies of his books for him to sign. He took the time to speak with all of them and to draw personalized monsters, bugs, aliens, and animals in each of their books.

“We’re thrilled to have Mr. McElligott visit the school,” says Cullum. “His books are fun, beautifully-imagined, whimsical and off-beat, and open up awesome opportunities for new learning experiences. Our kids all love reading his stories.”

Featured photo caption: Visiting author Matthew McElligott with first-grader Ruger Starowitz

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